Kids learn about sex from the media. That’s been demonstrated again and again. The American Academy of Pediatricians tell us that kids wills see over 40,000 TV ads each year, many of them using sex to sell. The Kaiser Family Foundation research tells us that “seven in ten (71%) have a TV in their bedroom’ and kids spend 4 1/2 hours each day with their eyeballs glued to a screen. There’s sex n the media and our kids absorb it.
So what did they see if they watched the episode of Glee entitled SEXY? For those who don’t know, Glee is the FOX TV series that turns High School Musical into a weekly ‘dramady’. Lots of drama, teen angst and breaking into song. They’ve tackled serious issues and done better with some than others. This episode covered several hot topics and most of what they had to say was pretty good.
Let’s start with the best — Kurt, is a gay male teen with a straight dad. The writers needed to stretch our imagination with a scene where Kurt’s gay schoolmate visits Kurt’s Dad with a warning that Kurt is dangerously clueless about sex. But Dad’s reaction was a stroke of genius by the writers. He took the warning, and had ‘the talk’ with his son. When Kurt balked, Dad acknowledged that he was also uncomfortable, but they were having the conversation anyway and they ‘would both be better men for it’. And so Dad said…..
“For most guys, sex is just this thing we always want to do. It’s fun. It feels great. But we’re not really thinking too much about how it makes us feel on the inside or how the other person feels about it.
You’ve got to know that it means something. It’s doing something to you, to your heart, to your self-esteem, even though it feels like you’re just having fun… I want you to use it as a way to connect to another person. Don’t throw yourself around like you don’t matter. Because you matter, Kurt.”
Could someone please give this message to every kid? You matter. Your body matters. A piece of your soul is exposed in your orgasm. You may never feel more exposed. Choose REALLY, REALLY carefully who you want to share this with.
Dad told Kurt that guys sought sex just for the sex, that girls were the part of the couple that brought the emotion to the equation. Danger, Kurt — because with gay male couples no one is concerned about the emotional aspect. So please Kurt — and every other human being CHOOSE PARTNERS CAREFULLY!!
And so the proverbial rub — the part of the brain that humans use to make good choices is not yet fully developed in adolescents. Kids need an adult like Kurt’s Dad to share truth with love and limits. Adults need the courage to be uncomfortable enough to give the priceless gift of information.
We may not want teachers in our school to emulate the sexy Ms. Haliday, or our kids to emulate Puck in his clueless willingness to make a sex tape to help a friend seem more popular. But maybe parents saw a role model worth their attention. Glee draws a large audience in the 18 – 49 demographic, so there’s hope.
Glee shows viewers a fictional place where everyone can sing and dance, where gay kids get to find a gay-friendly private school, and where the pregnant cheerleader continues her education without interruption. Do we have to look at a fictional world to find parents who actually take the time and muster the courage to tell their kids their truth about sexuality? Let’s not make honest communication with our children about sex a fiction.
How do I know????________________________________________________________
Kaiser Family Foundation -Kids and media study
Glee Audience Demographics
American Academy of Pediatrics